Life can give you a lot of opportunity as well as heartbreak and difficulty.
What’s important is what you do with the situations you’re put in and how you adjust to new chapters in life.
Do you want to end this chapter and get on with the next, or were you forced to turn the page?
In my case, it was a little of both. About a year ago, I got separated from an 11 year relationship (6 of which were spent married to the other person).
I grew up in a rural area in the Upper Hudson Valley of New York State, and even though my residence is still technically there, I’ve spend a lot of time in the past 11 months almost sixty miles away from where I grew up and in a different state.
In 2019, my plans looked nothing like the way my life is currently going, and I’m glad for that, because I was going nowhere fast.
The surprise change in life gave me the confidence to do what I’ve wanted to for years…
MOVE OUT OF MY HOME TOWN!
So, let’s break this down to see why starting over can be a good thing and how to do it right!
Reasons To Start Over
1. Opportunity is elsewhere
If you’ve lived in the same town your entire life, and let’s say you’re in your mid to late twenties, what opportunity is in your town?
Sure, there are dead end jobs, maybe even some really good career opportunities, but if they’re out of reach or you’re simply not taking advantage of them, then it’s irrelevant.
Only the luckiest or most determined people know what they want to do for a career early on.
I’m almost 30 and I’ve only recently realized what career path I would most benefit from. I’m actively making changes now to go after that dream in a different setting.
My town held some promise; small jobs and a lot of character building opportunities, but I outgrew the way of life in that area.
Getting out there and finding opportunity is easy if you know where to look.
Figure out a path you want to take in life.
I enjoy rural living, but I’m really not looking for an area with jobs available. Getting a good paying job is not difficult if you have transferable skills.
2. Relationship Changes
Imagine you’re in a committed relationship for several years.
The places you visit together, and the activities you do throughout the time you’ve been going through life day in and day out.
You’re bound to have memories tied to places, people, things, even random sounds may spark up a burned in memory that you’d forgotten about until the relationship ended and you have that kind of time.
It’s natural to want to stay away from those memories.
But imagine how everyone you knew will pick sides now that you’re relationship is over.
Is it even worth it to stick around and defend yourself for no reason?
Nope… Hard pass on that one.
On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship that causes you to move on to greener pastures.
It could be the beginning of one that draws you away.
In my case it’s a little of both. I got separated, spent some time doing things and collecting myself mentally in life before I stumbled into the path of a woman with a kind heart and the same sense of humor as me.
We started seeing each other and BOOM, I’m ready to move away from the only town I’ve ever known and start a new life elsewhere.
Sure, I still travel back and forth for my children (since it’s not optional to be a dad where I come from, and I would never let them down), but I’ve settled into my new surroundings.
3. Simply a change of scenery
Looking at the same things every day gets old. (Change my mind)
The only constant in life is that things change, so accepting that is great but embracing it is better!
Change your environment and you change your mindset.
Being depressed and trying to push through life every day just to get to the end is no way to live. Get out and experience the world beyond the 2 or 3 surrounding towns you know.
Don’t Burn Every Bridge
I can’t stress this enough! Don’t just walk out like it’s Tuesday afternoon and you’ve finally had it with your boss so you quit and flip everyone off on the way out.
Keep it light. Keep it real. Keep:
1. Close Friends
Yes! You can keep your friends and still start over at the same time.
Good friends are hard to find, so don’t throw them out like last weeks bag of salad you got at the grocery store to let rot in your fridge.
Eat that friendship salad, or put it in an air tight container!
I’ve got friends that I don’t speak to for months at a time (and it’s always been like that). Once we get together, it’s like there was no gap at all.
Keep that maintained and don’t forget about supporting them when they reach out either. Chances are they’ve done nothing wrong and don’t deserve to be ghosted.
This is HUGE. If you don’t have any, you’re losing the game, my friends.
Even if it’s a colleague, boss, or a coach. Having a mentor, or some direction at the very least is HUGE.
The people I reach out to when I need advice are always there and I don’t know what kind of person I would be without them.
Naturally, my dad is one of those people and he’s always there to talk through life with me. As well as some wise dudes I use to work with in manufacturing.
So, the point is, don’t burn these people and make sure you’re adding to their lives as they are to yours.
I feel as if I shouldn’t have to add this category, but for those who don’t know.
Your family has to love you. It’s not a choice they’re allowed to make; unless they’re terrible family, in which case you should dump them quickly and free up the mental space for something useful.
Talk to them regularly, even a quick text to check in on your Grammy and see if they need anything is enough to help.
This will ease their mind that you’re okay in your new life and new surroundings. That you haven’t forgotten about them, and you’re safe.
Go Visit Your Old Stomping Ground
1. Work Commuting
Say you’re not ready to find a job in the new area.
Can you commute to a new place and still manage to have time for things?
When I said I moved 60 miles away, I didn’t mention that I kept the same job. So my commute went from 10 minutes to just over an hour, but it’s worth it for what I’ve gained and for the people who have added me to their lives.
If you’re serious about starting a new life to better yourself, this is something that can be worth it.
Will I be at that job forever? Most likely not. But it’s good for now.
2. Holidays and Weekends
If you’re invited to a BBQ or a holiday event, don’t turn that down unless you’re a recluse who wants nothing to do with ties you had.
But, let’s get serious. Starting over doesn’t mean from scratch, so you’re going to go to those events and it will be great to see people 4 times a year who you love to be around while also avoiding the people you left there in the first place!
Challenges You’ll Face
When you start over, you’re going to feel alone sometimes. I know I did (I still do on occasion).
I mean, everything we know gets left behind, even if not forever but momentarily or for extended periods of time.
It’s going to feel foreign some days because you can’t just go over to your buddy’s house and sit down on their couch like a cat sunbathing.
Fortunately for me, the buddy I was able to do that with moved about 10 hours away around the same time I moved from my home town, so it’s not like I could have spent time on his couch anyway.
But it was still weird to have to get in my car and drive an hour to see familiar faces when I needed to.
Which brings me to my next point.
Family might not understand
There will be members of the family who will just no understand why you’re doing what you are doing.
They might even act like you’re doing it TO them and not FOR you.
But, they’ll come around eventually or they’re not needed in your life.
Everyone who means something to me, after 11 months understands why I moved away and that I’m not trying to become a gypsy or a drug addict.
It’s good to have people in your corner during this transition time, but it’s also not necessary. If someone gives you a hard time, chances are they’re not looking out what’s best for you, instead they’re trying to keep things the same for them because change is scary for them.
Keep walking your walk though.
Everything is different.
You have to find new groups, social places to spend your time.
You have to seek out those “great little sandwich shops” or restaurants you want to frequent.
In my case, my girlfriend knows a lot of the places to be around the area, but I’ve found a few myself as well and we’ve even found places together she’s never experienced despite living here her entire life.
Change Your Life
Elevate yourself by adding a new chapter.
If you don’t have variables like children or dependents, it’s a lot more simple to decide.
Get out of the rut and try something new. If you don’t like it after a year, then go back to your rut and live your life the same way you have been.